''Playback''

When you first walk into Fresh Arts and survey the TV screens scattered around the darkened gallery, a quick glance might give you the impression that the screens are stuck on frames of couples embracing or kissing. But upon closer inspection, it becomes steadily apparent that these are not frames, but actors holding these poses, in all their awkward glory.

This ingenious concept is part of Britt Ragsdale's "Duets" series. The Houston artist currently has her video work up at Fresh Arts in ''Playback'', a show curated by Paul Middendorf of galleryHOMELAND. In four screens, Ragsdale pulls inspiration from familiar scenes out of classic films such as An Affair to Remember and Giant -- couples gazing longingly into each others' eyes, about to kiss, in a dramatic embrace. The videos are even in black and white, some softened to give it that dated, classic look.

Ragsdale uses real couples to copy these poses -- fleeting moments that the artist has stretched out into six, seven, eight, even 12 minutes. What's meant to be a romantic gesture soon becomes less-than-intimate, even pained, due to what Ragsdale describes as "intense scrutiny."

See "Britt Ragsdale: Playback" Mondays through Fridays by appointment. Through July 12. 2101 Winter Street, Studio B11. For more information, call 713-868-1839 or visit www.fresharts.org. Free.
Mondays-Fridays. Starts: June 24. Continues through July 12, 2013

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Meredith Deliso
Contact: Meredith Deliso